Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Victor Alfieri, Volume 1

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Page 246 - I never lifted a hand against a domestic, as that would have been putting them on a level with myself. Neither did I ever employ a cane, nor any kind of weapon in order to chastise them, though I frequently threw at them any moveable that fell in my way, as many young people do, during the first ebullitions of anger ; yet I dare to affirm that I would have approved, and even esteemed the domestic who should on such occasions have rendered me back the treatment he received, since I never punished...
Page 183 - ... letters, whose chief amusement consisted in reading portions from the Greek, Latin, and Italian classics. Having taken an affection for me, he wished, out of pity to my idleness, to conduct me thither. But I "declined accompanying him, either from my usual aukwardness, Of from the contempt which the constant habit of reading French works had given me for Italian productions.
Page 84 - To the natural hatred I had to dancing, was joined an invincible antipathy towards my master —a Frenchman newly arrived from Paris. He possessed a certain air of polite assurance, which, joined to his ridiculous motions and absurd dis-course, greatly increased the innate aversion I felt towards this frivolous art. So unconquerable was this aversion, that, after leaving school, I could never be prevailed on to join in any dance what-ever. The very name of this amusement still makes me shudder, and...
Page 154 - The mean and wretched buildings ; the contemptible ostentation displayed in a few houses dignified with the pompous appellation of hotels and palaces ; the filthiness of the Gothic churches ; the truly Vandallike construction of the public theatres at that time, besides innumerable other disagreeable objects, of which not the least disgusting to me was the plastered countenances of many very ugly women, far outweighed in my mind the beauty and elegance of the public walks and gardens, the infinite...
Page 182 - VJ the celebrated poet Metastasio, at whose house our minister, the old and respectable Count Canale, passed his evenings in a select company of men of letters, whose chief amusement consisted in reading portions from the Greek, Latin and Italian classics. Having taken an affection for me, he wished, out of pity to my idleness, to conduct me thither. But I declined accompanying him, either from my usual awkwardness, or from the contempt which the constant habit of reading French works had given me...
Page 246 - ... rage, I became convinced that the trivial circumstance which gave rise to it was, so to speak, like the last drop poured into a vessel ready to run over. My irascible temper, which must have been rendered still more irritable by solitude and perpetual idleness, required only the slightest impulse to cause it to burst forth. Besides, I never lifted a hand against a domestic, as that would have been putting them on a level with myself. Neither did I ever employ a cane, nor any kind of weapon, in...
Page 72 - ... similar, and it long remained engraven on my memory. When I recollect the feelings excited by the representation of the grand operas, at which I was present during several carnivals, and compare them with those which I now experience, on returning from the performance of a piece I have not witnessed for some time, I am fully convinced that nothing acts so powerfully on my mind as all species of music, and particularly the sound of female voices, and of contro-alto.
Page 140 - But no sooner was the novelty over, than my habitual melancholy and ennui returned. I passed several days together in complete solitude, never leaving the house nor stirring from the window, whence I made signs to a young lady who lodged opposite, and with whom I occasionally exchanged a few words. During the rest of the...
Page 128 - In spite, however, of this constant whirl of dissipation, my being master of my own actions; notwithstanding I had plenty of money, was in the heyday of youth, and possessed a prepossessing figure ; I yet felt every where satiety, ennui, and disgust. My greatest pleasure consisted in attending the opera bufia, though the gay and lively music left a deep and melancholy impression in my mind.
Page 197 - ... VISITED Zorndorff, a spot rendered famous by the sanguinary battle fought between the Russians and Prussians, where thousands of men on both sides were immolated on the altar of despotism, and thus escaped from the galling yoke which oppressed them. The place of their interment was easily recognized by its greater verdure, and by yielding more abundant crops than the barren and unproductive soil in its immediate vicinity. On this occasion, I reflected with sorrow that slaves seem everywhere only...

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